Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

I think this might just be my favorite Tarantino. It admittedly doesn't reach the creative highs of Pulp Fiction or match the ambition and epic scope of Inglourious Basterds, but make no mistake, this is Tarantino's most assured, confident, and mature film.

For his 9th film, Tarantino tempers his impulses to deliver a wickedly funny, melancholic, and fantastical love letter to the waning moments of the golden age of Hollywood. I absolutely love how unrestrained, yet deliberately paced the film is. Tarantino allows you to dig in and truly live in the intricate moments of his two main characters. The extended Lancer and Spahn Ranch sequences are methodically composed in only a way that Tarantino could pull off. The loose structure and parallel narrative lines are brilliantly and seamlessly weaved perfectly into a satisfying and cathartic finale.

The performances here are amazing. DiCaprio gives an achingly vulnerable performance as Rick Dalton, a fading movie star and Brad Pitt is arguably even better as his stunt double (the last act features probably my favorite Pitt scene of all-time.) Margot Robbie admittedly doesn't have much dialogue but that's beside the point. She's supposed to be like an angel on the screen and embody the heart and soul of Golden Age Hollywood and she pulls it off perfectly. The supporting cast, per usual in a Tarantino film, are all perfectly cast including a frighteningly unrecognizable Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme. Magaret Qualley is also particularly strong (that armpit hair though!) as one of Manson's hippie followers.

Overall, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is a brilliantly composed and lovingly crafted ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood and once again proves that Tarantino is one of the most confident and idiosyncratic filmmakers working today.

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